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Skinned: Robin Wasserman

Reviews that Made Me Want the Book: September 5

Welcome to the latest edition of my recurring "reviews that made me want to read the book" feature. There have been tons of great books coming out recently, and I have quite a few titles to highlight this week. And for those who might be wondering, I do often use these posts to decide what to read next. I just ordered several titles from prior posts from Amazon, and I'm currently reading The Crossroads, by Chris Grabenstein, which was recommended by Jill from The Well-Read Child.

Stacey Jay's upcoming title You Are So Undead to Me is so far from release that there isn't even a cover image yet. Kidliterate intrigued me with this review, explaining that it's about a girl who is a "Zombie Settler", someone "who listens to their problem, helps to solve it and then sends them back for eternal rest." She concluded: "This has a bit of a Buffy feel to it, so if you like your YA fic to feel like a cross between Stephenie Meyer and Joss Whedon, I’d recommend this to you." I'll bet Liz B. will be interested, too.

The Red Blazer GirlsAnother Kidliterate review also caught my eye, of The Red Blazer Girls by Michael D. Beil, which won't be out until next April. All I really needed was the first couple of sentences: "This is very much like Trixie Belden meets THE WESTING GAME. I should also tell you up front that this book is full of math and I HATE math and I enjoyed this book tremendously. I even read the math parts."

You Know Where to Find Me I wasn't sure about reading You Know Where to Find Me. The editorial description on Amazon says: "Rachel Cohn's emotionally powerful new novel views serious issues such as depression, suicide, prescription-drug abuse, and alternative family configurations through the lens of family love and survival." Sounded a bit bleak. But Jackie Parker from Interactivereader talked me into it, saying "there's an ever-present dark, witty humor in the voice of Miles", and "The book should be read by: Those who like Rachel Cohn or Ellen Hopkins, My Big Fat Manifesto, Stay With Me, and 13 Reasons Why." Good enough for me, Jac.

Abigail IrisSherry from Semicolon interested me in Abigail Iris: The One and Only, by Lisa Glatt and Suzanne Greenberg. In her review, Sherry started with "Move over, Clementine! Make room, Ramona! Judy Moody, Clarice Bean and Lucy Rose, you have a friend: Abigail Iris, The One and Only!" She also calls Abigail Iris "a delight". Sounds like a must-read to me.

Elvis and OliveAnother person whose recommendations I trust is Esme Raji Codell. In her recent review of Stephanie Watson's Elvis and Olive, she said: "Cross Pippi Longstocking with The Great Gilly Hopkins and you've got Annie, code name "Elvis," who strongarms the otherwise cautious Natalie, code name "Olive," into a summer of spying on the neighbors... In an overflow of girl-on-the-cover fiction, this stand-out is one that shouldn't be kept secret for very long, and this new author is definitely one to watch, with or without binoculars."

GracelingI've seen positive mentions of Kristin Cashore's Graceling in several places. The post that inspired me to add it to my list was a brief mention by Sarah Rettger at Archimedes Forgets. She said "I can't improve on Leila's excellent review. Except to say this: The current issue of Publishers Weekly quotes the book's publicist, who describes it as "fantasy for people who don't like fantasy," and that's so true. No dragons, fairies, or vampires to be found." The "fantasy for people who don't like fantasy" thing, combined with the generally positive response by people I trust, is good enough for me. I don't even have to know what it's about.

I So Don't Do MysteriesShelfElf reviewed a book recently that sounds irresistible: I So Don't Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy. She says: "Straight off, let me say that I hope that Barrie gives us more than two mysteries starring Sherry (Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin. This book was SO much fun. Right at this second, I can think of at least ten grade 6 girls who would gobble it up in a single sitting and then come running back wanting to know how long till the next one. There’s a meaty mystery plot with a crazy supernatural twist, a little romance, a lot of laughs and great writing." It is due out in December.

Baron von BaddieThis is one of those rare instances when the cover is what pulls me in. 100 Scope Notes reviewed Baron von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident, by George McClements. He called it: "A wonderfully illustrated story that will be hard for kids to resist. Baron von Baddie is an evil genius with evil plans to spare. Unfortunately, whenever he attempts to unleash one of his plots on the world, Captain Kapow is there to ruin it, putting the Baron behind bars. But for an evil genius, escape is inevitable." Which sounds fun, but the cover plays a part for me, too.

NationI've never read any of Terry Pratchett's books, although I've heard generally good things. Bookchic's review of Pratchett's latest title, Nation, at Guys' Lit Wire caught my interest. In this case, it was the plot summary that reeled me in: "The sea has taken everything. Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave. Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe."

Most of these books aren't even available yet, but this will be a list for me to come back to in six months, when I'm in need of suggestions. My thanks to all of these talented reviewers, who have made the books come to life.